You are here

TEC Student of the Month Award

February 2015 - Mia Palkie

Exuding enthusiasm for learning Spanish, Mia’s infinitely positive attitude has paved her path towards proficiency with progress and many laughs. So strong is her motivation to learn and practice speaking Spanish, when she did not find a good place to practice in Eugene (where she lives) she created a Spanish Conversation group through the social website and co-organizes two weekly gatherings. Her eagerness to communicate in Spanish combined with her inquisitive nature make her an ideal classmate: she asks the questions everyone has on their mind and keeps the mood lively. Having made great strides in her time studying at Tierra, Mia is on the brink of turning her dreams of travel into reality! We congratulate Mia for her initiative and commitment and look forward to hearing about her future exploits!

January 2015 - Gretchen Janssen

A kind and spirited woman, full of curiosity, while Gretchen is a student at Tierra, she has much to teach us. Initially drawn to learn Spanish by her passion for tango dancing, she pursued her studies (of the language and the dance) in many trips to Argentina where she developed a nuanced understanding of both topics. Upon moving to Portland, she quickly became a part of Tierra and made every effort to continue sharpening her skills, complementing group classes with individual private lessons and frequently gracing us with her presence at our holiday fiestas. Her remarkable generosity and insatiable thirst for learning are truly inspiring; one would be hard-pressed to find a more engaged and concerned citizen. We are honored to count Gretchen as part of our community and wish her and all of our students a healthy, happy new year.

December 2014 - Rose Bonomo

With immense enthusiasm for learning Spanish, Rose makes an incredible effort both in and outside of class to apply new knowledge and milk the educational experience to the fullest. She is eager to practice and takes advantage of every opportunity to interact with native-speakers, particularly in her work as an event space manager and on the town in the local salsa-dancing scene. Determined and studious, Rose often interprets the homework assigned as a springboard, stretching her vocabulary base and writing skills in animated compositions. Through her natural vivaciousness and fabulous sense of humor, she often stimulates group discussion and helps to build a comfortable and encouraging classroom atmosphere. With travel plans on the horizon and no sign of slowing down, we look forward to watching Rose surpass her goals while enjoying her company.

November 2014 - Rayner Ward

Rayner is a unique, you might even say unforgettable, student  whose humor and spontaneity bring an element of surprise to the Spanish classroom. After a long career of many careers including English professor, carpenter, and owner of a remodeling company, Rayner retired in 2007 to dedicate himself to his writing. He’s since self-published two novels and reports that his Spanish studies helped tremendously in the writing and editing process, particularly as he summoned his memories of Mexico and peppered the scenes set there with Spanish phrases and slang. Fascinated by language in all of its literary and vernacular manifestations, Rayner pushes the limits of his Spanish abilities, always seeking to express his thoughts on complex topics in an idiomatic fashion. We wish Rayner the best in his endeavors and are glad for his spirited participation in our community at Tierra!

October 2014 - Tanya Luken

With a joyful attitude and buckets full of motivation, Tanya has taken on learning Spanish like there’s no tomorrow. Committed to joining a program in the Peace Corps in which she will train people in a Spanish-speaking country to become business owners, Tanya’s passion for service and empowerment  inspires her dedication to learning the language. Having started out in Beginner 1 this past spring, she has breezed through our entire Beginner series by taking the intensive, twice weekly classes and is graduating to “intermediate” material this fall. Eager to practice in any way she can, she’s been speaking in Spanish with her friends and family (even the ones who don’t speak Spanish!) and taking every opportunity to use her newly acquired skills. It’s clear that with such drive, Tanya will reach great heights and we wish her the best of luck in her continued studies and future volunteer work.

September 2014 - Aaron Bini & Ellen Mickle

Committed  to learning Spanish and to learning it together, Ellen and Aaron studying side by side for many months merited a double recognition. Sharing a passion for organic and sustainable agriculture, they are driven to expand their Spanish skills to be able to communicate with Spanish-speakers in their fields of fair trade and farming. In fact, they began learning Spanish while volunteering on a farm in Colombia, and the dream of travelling abroad again is the other spark that keeps them motivated. They are hard-working students who support each other in their successes and hurdles and are on the path to achieving their ambitious learning goals. Genuine and kind, through their example Ellen and Aaron inspire us to live by our ideals and pursue our goals with joyful determination.

August 2014 - Laurel Schaffer

With a  sparkle in her eye and all but permanent smile, Laurel’s kind and inclusive nature helps create a positive and comfortable atmosphere in any class she joins. Passionate about her Spanish studies, she is motivated both by the desire to be able to communicate with her Spanish-speaking patients as a nurse and by her fascination with Latin American, and particularly Mexican, culture and dream of living abroad. Having learned Italian fluently before beginning to learn Spanish, her quick progress demonstrates how useful knowledge of other languages is in studying Spanish. With her great sense of humor and can-do attitude, Laurel reminds us that being willing to speak imperfectly and enjoy the learning process are key to achieving success.

July 2014 - Calista Christensen

Steadfast in her commitment to studying Spanish and continuously attending classes, one might say Calista's passion for food is interwoven with her passion for the Spanish language and Latin American culture. In her workplace at a popular Mexican restaurant in Portland, she draws on her Spanish skills to get to know her Spanish-speaking co-workers and engage customers in foodie conversation. She is also an avid cook and community gardener, eager to learn to prepare delicacies from south of the border. Her authentic curiosity and desire to deeply understand Latino culture has resulted in her leading a life surrounded by Spanish-speakers, and she looks forward to future travel and further immersion. Aided by her easy-going attitude and unwavering persistence, Calista is on the road towards fluency and we are delighted to count her as part of our community at Tierra.


Subscribe to TEC Student of the Month Award